Pope Francis: Europe is tired, must be rejuvenated

Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass on March 24, 2013 in St. Peter's Square. Credit: Sabrina Fusco/CNA.

In a visit to a community dedicated to serving the poor and needy, Pope Francis warned of the poverty of Europe which faces a declining birthrate, hidden forms of euthanasia, and high rates of unemployment.

“Today I speak of Europe. Europe is tired. We have to help rejuvenate it, to find its roots. It’s true: it has disowned its roots. It’s true. But we need to help it find them,” he said to the St. Egidio community in Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica on June 15.

“The treatment of the elderly, as that of children, is an indicator showing the quality of a society. When the elderly are discarded, when the elderly are isolated and sometimes closed off without affection, it’s a bad sign!” he exclaimed.

The St. Egidio community provides various forms of social outreach to the impoverished, homeless, refugees and immigrants, elderly, disabled, and young people. Their service also consists of inviting people to participate in a deeper life of prayer.

Several members of the St. Egidio community shared their testimony with the Holy Father, explaining how they had been in a difficult situation due to poverty or immigration or disability, when the community reached out to them to offer help and spiritual support.

Pope Francis affirmed their work, noting “How good it is, rather, that alliance I see between young people and the elderly in which everyone receives and gives.”

“The elderly and their prayers are a richness for St. Egidio. A people that does not safeguard its elderly, that does not take care of its young people, is a people without a future, a people without hope. Because the youth - the children, the young people - and the elderly carry history forward.”

He noted that although young people provide “biological strength” for society, the elderly “give them their memory.”

“When a society loses memory, it’s over. It’s finished. It’s terrible to see a society, a people, a culture that has lost memory,” he lamented.

An economic world which holds “the idol of money” at its center rather than “man and woman,” risks becoming a “throw-away culture,” Pope Francis warned.

“Children are thrown away: no children. Just think of the growth rate of children in Europe: in Italy, Spain, France. The elderly are thrown away with these attitudes, behind which is a hidden euthanasia, a form of euthanasia: uselessness. That which isn’t useful is thrown away.”

“And today the crisis is so great that young people are discarded: when we think of these 75 million young people of 25 years or younger, who are ‘neither-nor’ - neither working, nor studying. Without. It happens today, in this tired Europe, eh?”

The Pope went on to criticize a “speculative economy” which makes the poor “more and more poor, depriving them of the essentials, such as home and work.”

He noted the importance of solidarity - a word which “many want to remove it from the dictionary, eh? Because to a certain culture seems to be a dirty word.”

“Oh no: it is a Christian word, solidarity!” he exclaimed.

Pope Francis then thanked the St. Egidio community for being a place of welcome and solidarity not just to local people, but also to immigrants who have arrived after “painful and risk filled travel.”

The Holy Father extended his thanks to all involved in the work of the community beyond Rome “in other countries of the world. I also encourage them to be friends of God, of the poor, and of peace: whoever lives like this will find blessing in life and will be a blessing for others.”

He stressed the importance of such outreach, particularly in “hectic and sometimes confusing city life.”

“It all starts with prayer. Prayer preserves the anonymous man of the city from the temptations which can also affect us: the attention-seeking in which everything revolves around oneself, indifference, victimhood.”

“Prayer is the first work of your community, and consists in listening to the Word of God - this bread, the bread that gives us the strength that is there, that keeps us going forward - but also in turning our eyes to him, as in this basilica,” the Pope explained.

The evening then concluded with a brief prayer service, including the reading of a Gospel passage and prayers of intercession.


Voices

Jean Beliveau, RIP

REV. RONALD ROLHEISER, OMI

Jean Beliveau was more than an athlete, though certainly he was a one-in-a-million athlete. The record of his achievements almost defies belief. He played in the National Hockey League for 20 seasons and retired with 10 championship rings. 

 

Retirement Fund for Religious

Events

December 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

December 20, 2014

  • Saturday, December 20

    St. Margaret's Center Christmas Program, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Morningside High School (Cafeteria), 10500 S. Yukon Ave, Inglewood. St. Margaret's Center, Inglewood School District, Doorking, Inc., and Centinela Hospital Medical Staff invite you to join them as they create a holiday wonderland with Christmas surprises for more than 1,000 poverty-level children and their parents. (310) 672-2208. Click here for more information.

    Christmas Shop at Holy Grounds, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., St. Monica Catholic Community, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 566-1500.

    Dancing Festival of Lessons and Carols, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Holy Spirit Retreat House, 4316 Lanai Rd., Encino. A concert by Valyermo Dancers & Co., choreographed by John West. $15. Contact Sr. Deborah for more info, (818) 784-4515.

    Christmas Dinner Dance, 6 p.m., Knights of Columbus Hall, 21433 Strathern St, Canoga Park. Tickets, $28. (818) 371-0473.

    Las Posadas, 7 p.m., Parish Hall, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 600 W Mariposa St, Altadena. Posadas means “the inns” or “the shelters” in Spanish. A religious and social celebration, Las Posadas commemorates Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter prior to the birth of Christ. We invite you to join us in a one-day celebration of this tradition. (626) 794-2046.

The Tidings - Home Delivery 300x100

Get our news by email

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land
Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250